Senate Approves ‘Do-Not-Spam’ Regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. Senate on Wednesday in a unanimous vote approved a bill designed to regulate unwanted commercial e-mail and set up a “Do-Not-Spam” registry, similar to the national Do-Not-Call registry intended to shield consumers from unwanted telemarketing solicitations.

The Senate voted 97 to 0 in favor of a bill sponsored by Sen. Conrad Burns, a Republican from Montana, and Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. The House of Representatives has yet to draft a similar proposal for consideration.

The bill provides for fines and imprisonment of up to five years for sending illegal e-mails. Spam, which made up 8 percent of global e-mail traffic just two years ago, now accounts for 45 percent, said Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican.

The bill calls for barring high-volume e-mail senders, known as spammers, from disguising their identities and using misleading subject lines to attract attention.

Several industry groups have been pressing for national e-mail regulations. Last week, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and the Direct Marketing Association jointly issued guidelines for the regulation of e-mail marketing and urged their members to comply [Adweek Online, Oct. 14].

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